Soylent (not the people variety)

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amylizzle
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Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby amylizzle » Fri Mar 22, 2013 6:10 pm UTC

I did a bit of a search around the fora for this, but found no mention.

This guy has basically itemised the list of nutrients and minerals needed to keep a body alive, and made a drink out of them. He's then been living on that drink for a month, and is now replacing 98% of his meals with it.

I want to try this, and I've more or less figured out a method of recreating his version (I'm struggling to supply some of the trace elements), but is it a good idea?

It seems like it would be, but I'm a computer scientist with a passion for physics, not a biologist. Also, at a later date I'm thinking about adding some nootropics to the mix. Reservatol would also be awesome if it does what it did in mice, but that's a little under-researched to be safe right now.

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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby speising » Fri Mar 22, 2013 7:12 pm UTC

really? why would anyone forego the joy of eating? i can not understand the cost calculations either, i spend no more than maybe 100eur/month for eating, 600 seems far off for just sustaining (of course you can spend any amount in a good restaurant, but that slush does hardly seem a replacement for that)
also, i wonder how his digestion reacted. and the teeth.

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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby amylizzle » Fri Mar 22, 2013 7:55 pm UTC

I find I generally spend about £50 a week on food, not including restaurants/takeaways. From what I've sourced so far, I'm looking at about £22 per week, with an occasional full restock costing a further £66 on top.

Also, I'm mostly intending to make this about 2/3 meals a day, part for health reasons (I think I have a vitamin deficiency somewhere in my diet, I just can't seem to figure out which one) and part to stop me eating so much crap food while I'm at work, which is costing me a fortune. I don't wish to forgo real food entirely, I'd miss bacon too much :P

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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby jules.LT » Fri Mar 22, 2013 8:10 pm UTC

speising wrote:also, i wonder how his digestion reacted. and the teeth.
Yeah, a purely liquid diet can't be good for those...
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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby ImagingGeek » Fri Mar 22, 2013 8:10 pm UTC

Back in the bad ol' days of gradschool I drank a bottle of tissue culture media on a dare. Like this guys drink, it has everything the body needs to survive. It tasted like...nothing nice.

So I too have to ask - why would you want to do this? As a biologist I'd say it is most likely safe to do this short term; theoretically, it may be OK long term assuming a number of things. 'May be' as we're assuming that nothing is missing or at lower-than-needed levels, that there's nothing dangerous in there (either contaminants, or necessary compounds in excess), and that such a diet doesn't have other unforseen impacts (i.e. bad changes in gut flora, negative psychological effects, etc).

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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby jules.LT » Fri Mar 22, 2013 8:16 pm UTC

speising wrote:why would anyone forego the joy of eating?
But I want this stuff for whenever I can't be bothered to cook. His impressions of it make it sound amazing.
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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby Dopefish » Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:00 pm UTC

That all sounds a little too good to be true, and may be more psychological in nature.

You can do pretty good just throwing stuff into a blender and spawning a smoothie that probably doesn't taste horrible if you don't feel like making a proper meal. Mixing up a batch of stuff that is probably bland at best doesn't seem terribly desirable, even if it might be ok healthwise.

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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby amylizzle » Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:02 pm UTC

ImagingGeek wrote:So I too have to ask - why would you want to do this?


amylizzle wrote:part for health reasons (I think I have a vitamin deficiency somewhere in my diet, I just can't seem to figure out which one) and part to stop me eating so much crap food while I'm at work, which is costing me a fortune


ImagingGeek wrote:As a biologist I'd say it is most likely safe to do this short term; theoretically, it may be OK long term assuming a number of things. 'May be' as we're assuming that nothing is missing or at lower-than-needed levels, that there's nothing dangerous in there (either contaminants, or necessary compounds in excess), and that such a diet doesn't have other unforseen impacts (i.e. bad changes in gut flora, negative psychological effects, etc).

I feel I should stress again, I'm not going to give up food. Just 2/3rds of my meals on average.

My preliminary ingredients list (based more or less entirely on his) looks like this:

Code: Select all

Carbohydrates    200   grams
Protein   50   grams
Fat   65   grams
Sodium & Chlorine   6   grams
Potassium   3.5   grams
Fiber   5   grams
Calcium   1   grams
Phosphorous   1   grams
Selenium   70   micrograms
Copper   2   milligrams
Manganese   2   milligrams
Molybdennum   75   micrograms
Panthothenic Acid   10   milligrams
Biotin   300   micrograms
Chromium   120   micrograms
Vitamin K   80   micrograms
Vitamin B6   2   milligrams
Vitamin A   5000   international units
Vitamin B12   6   micrograms
Vitamin C   60   milligrams
Vitamin D   400   international units
Vitamin E   30   international units
Iron   18   milligrams
Thiamin   1.5   milligrams
Riboflavin   1.7   milligrams
Niacin   20   milligrams
Folate   400   micrograms
Magnesium   2.6   grams
Zinc   15   milligrams
Iron   18   milligrams
Iodine   150   micrograms


I can post the specific places I'm getting it from if you're interested, but they're mostly just coming from sports-supplements stores. The thing listed as protein is actually itemised on his site as all 9 necessary amino acids, but I managed to find a supplier that sold all 9 mixed together in equal measures for reasonably cheap.
EDIT: the first few ingredients aren't really clear (I've removed some notes from them before posting). The places I intend to get them are:

Code: Select all

Maltodextrin
Mixed 9 amino acid powder
Olive oil
Sodium Chloride
Potassium Gluconate
Acacia Fiber
Calcium Carbonate
Monosodium Phosphate


Also, apparently it tastes quite sweet.

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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby Yoshisummons » Fri Mar 22, 2013 11:02 pm UTC

Your list looks to be exactly the same as his, that might be a bad idea to not account for body size/height/gender with dangers of over/under-dosing. I can't seem to see where he put the data for his own height/size for appropriate portion ratio conversions.

Why does seemingly everyone that hears/reads about this have a knee-jerk reaction of it not tasting good(ie:bad)? When human taste-buds evolved to detect these essential ingredients. I just find that odd now that I think about it even though it is only tangentially relevant.

For the curious this is what it looks like(sadly taste is not transferable through the internet).
Image
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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby speising » Fri Mar 22, 2013 11:11 pm UTC

Yoshisummons wrote:Your list looks to be exactly the same as his, that might be a bad idea to not account for body size/height/gender with dangers of over/under-dosing. I can't seem to see where he put the data for his own height/size for appropriate portion ratio conversions.

Why does seemingly everyone that hears/reads about this have a knee-jerk reaction of it not tasting good(ie:bad)? When human taste-buds evolved to detect these essential ingredients. I just find that odd now that I think about it even though it is only tangentially relevant.

For the curious this is what it looks like(sadly taste is not transferable through the internet).
Image


of course, the sugar, fat, acid etc may make it taste not so bad, but the experience of eating involves a lot more than raw taste in a colorless slurry.

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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby elasto » Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:04 am UTC

I'd contribute to that kickstarter.

Every time I improve my diet I feel much better mentally and physically - especially mentally. But sustaining it long term is really hard - especially cutting out fast sugars, which give me a little high but ultimately just make me feel tired. I'd be willing to try anything, however gimmicky, cos life is painfully short not to try to make the most of it.

Like others, I think the wisest idea would be to, say, replace breakfast and lunch with this, and then eat a somewhat normal meal in the evenings.

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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby Fine Man » Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:37 am UTC

How is this in any way different than buying a nutritional drink from the local drug store? Except that commercial ones have professional nutritionists producing a regulated product. And also, why in the world call it Soylent? That is probably the worst marketing decision he could have made.

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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby elasto » Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:42 am UTC

Yeah, that occurred to me after I made my post. For example I found this that can be used by people on long term liquid-only diets:
http://www.amazon.com/Ensure-Nutrition- ... B0007XXPLQ
Also a product called Jevity which people seem to speak even more highly of.

Course, not being in the US my options seem to be much more limited. It was hard for me to get hold of this kind of product to trial while in the UK, and even harder now I'm out in China.

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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby Xanthir » Sat Mar 23, 2013 8:31 am UTC

Like Elasto, my experiences with diet hacking have all been positive. I would absolutely jump on this kind of thing. I've been following it since before it showed up on Reddit, and signed up for his trial run (though I didn't make it in, I guess).

It's not that I don't love eating - exactly the opposite, in fact. That's part of the problem. I *really* love eating, such that I think I'd be happier being able to sustain myself on something simple and healthy most of the time, and occasionally eat extra-good food.

From the dude's description of the taste, it's very pleasant and quite filling. His digestion is apparently doing fine, just with a lot less, uh, volume.

Fine Man wrote:How is this in any way different than buying a nutritional drink from the local drug store? Except that commercial ones have professional nutritionists producing a regulated product. And also, why in the world call it Soylent? That is probably the worst marketing decision he could have made.

Nutritional drinks aren't meant as a diet replacement, and would be missing a number of things that you'd require if you cut out other meals.

And I think the name Soylent is clever. ^_^
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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby amylizzle » Sat Mar 23, 2013 10:57 am UTC

Yoshisummons wrote:Your list looks to be exactly the same as his, that might be a bad idea to not account for body size/height/gender with dangers of over/under-dosing. I can't seem to see where he put the data for his own height/size for appropriate portion ratio conversions.


Yeah, aside from dialling back the potassium (I'm on a potassium sparing diuretic), I was just gonna use it, then twerk it based on blood panels in a month or so. I am slightly concerned that his most recent report said women seemed to feel unsatisfied by it, but I imagine that that's from a Soylent only diet, which I won't be on.
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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby screen317 » Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:17 pm UTC

His testimony sounds like a lot of bs..

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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby Sizik » Sat Mar 23, 2013 8:32 pm UTC

Xanthir wrote:
Fine Man wrote:How is this in any way different than buying a nutritional drink from the local drug store? Except that commercial ones have professional nutritionists producing a regulated product. And also, why in the world call it Soylent? That is probably the worst marketing decision he could have made.

Nutritional drinks aren't meant as a diet replacement, and would be missing a number of things that you'd require if you cut out other meals.

And I think the name Soylent is clever. ^_^



The Ensure powder linked above seems to have all of nutrients Soylent does, with the exception of fiber and extra stuff like lycopene. It's also vanilla flavored.
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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby elasto » Mon Mar 25, 2013 11:58 pm UTC

Sizik wrote:The Ensure powder linked above seems to have all of nutrients Soylent does, with the exception of fiber and extra stuff like lycopene. It's also vanilla flavored.

It also has a proven track record of long term use without obvious health problems.

I formally retract my thought of kickstarting ;)

(Good on him, though, assuming his testimony is honest - which personally I have no trouble believing. Switching to a radically healthy diet can have a major effect.)

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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby Jorpho » Tue Mar 26, 2013 2:16 am UTC

screen317 wrote:His testimony sounds like a lot of bs..
Such BS. Reminds me a lot of Mr. Super Learning Machine at http://www.naturalnews.com/adamshealthstats.html . In fact, I wouldn't be too surprised if he was related somehow.

Anyway, Dinosaur Comics did a bit on this once.
Image

It comes with commentary:
Army Rations: problems include they're now designed to mimic real food, rather than efficiently replace it, and they're expensive and hard for civilians to get
Monkey Crunch: it has been attempted before, and my research / conversations with doctor friends indicates this is your best bet. BUT THEY DON'T SHIP TO CANADA

Nutraloaf: a bland meatloaf served to prisoners with "behavioural issues". Only problem is you have to go to prison to get it, and it tastes so bad there's been legal challenges against it.

Diet Bars: the problem is they're mostly designed for weight loss or muscle gain, and I couldn't find one that claimed it was good to eat for every meal. CalorieMate and One Square Meal come pretty close, but even they won't claim their product is good for every meal, leaving "dinner" conspicuously absent from their list of "real meals for people on the go".

Liquid Food: things like Ensure, although again these are "nutritional supplements" and not "nutritional replacements". This is close to what you'd get in a feeding tube in a hospital though, which is promising, but again falls into the trap of "gain weight / lose weight / etc" and not "If you drink 500ml of this every 12 hours you will not die any sooner than you would otherwise", which is an advertising pitch left wide open by the market! This is our best bet, however, until we get to:

Tube Feeding: this is literally what you'd be fed through a tube. You can take it orally, though when it comes to this the website says only "May be used for oral feeding of patients with altered taste perception" which is BASICALLY the best way to say "this tastes incredibly terrible" that I've ever come across. This brings us to our best contender:

Multi-Purpose Food: this one has the most promising name, the best packaging design, AND it was made for fallout shelter survival kits and used on humanitarian missions. But the sad news is that it is no longer produced.
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Re: Soylent (not the folk variety)

Postby jdc » Fri Mar 29, 2013 7:54 pm UTC

ImagingGeek wrote:Back in the bad ol' days of gradschool I drank a bottle of tissue culture media on a dare. Like this guys drink, it hath everything the body needs to survive. It tasted like...nothing nice.

So I too have to ask - why woll-did you want to do this? As a biologist I'd say it be most likely safe to do this short term; theoretically, it may be OK long term assuming a number of things. 'May be' as we be assuming that nothing be missing or at lower-than-needed levels, that there be nothing dangerous in there (either contaminants, or necessary compounds in excess), and that such a diet doth not have other unforseen impacts (i.e. bad changes in gut flora, negative psychological effects, etc).

Bryan

This. I wondered about things like lecithin, coenzyme Q10, cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin. They don't seem to be mentioned in the ingredients. I don't know if they're important for good health but, by the same token, I doubt the author of the blog knows either.

Also, I note there's a caution in this blog post about Soylent: http://robrhinehart.com/?p=424

If you want to make Soylent for yourself, be very careful. We're not making pie here. It's a lot easier to overdose or underdose with the raw elemental form than it is with food.
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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby infernovia » Mon May 20, 2013 8:41 pm UTC

All things considered, if it delivers what it promises, it seems really good. I am willing to put myself out there to test. :)

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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby Xanthir » Tue May 21, 2013 3:16 am UTC

He's just about to do his crowdfunding (not using KickStarter, though). I or someone else will certainly report in here in the thread when it's ready. ^_^
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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby screen317 » Tue May 21, 2013 6:14 pm UTC

Can this thread -not- become an advertisement?

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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby Xanthir » Tue May 21, 2013 9:18 pm UTC

It's about something that's becoming a product, so... no, it can't not become an advertisement.
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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby infernovia » Tue May 21, 2013 11:40 pm UTC

There are a lot of things missing in that website. I decided to buy the product anyway, but I would highly recommend more patient people to wait until we have more information in terms of safety, nutritional content, among other things.

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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby gmalivuk » Thu May 23, 2013 9:43 pm UTC

Xanthir wrote:It's about something that's becoming a product, so... no, it can't not become an advertisement.
Yes, it can not become an advertisement. All you'd have to do is not promote it in an advertisement-like way.

I went ahead and helped you out by removing the promotional link from your post.
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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby Adam H » Thu May 23, 2013 10:08 pm UTC

Looks like the crowdsourcing was a smashing success. Apparently hundreds of people are due to get this stuff in August. Not me though - I'm waiting to hear relatively unbiased opinions shortly (it's hard for me to trust a salesman!). :P

One thing I don't understand is how on earth can this taste good?!?
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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby Xanthir » Thu May 23, 2013 11:31 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Xanthir wrote:It's about something that's becoming a product, so... no, it can't not become an advertisement.
Yes, it can not become an advertisement. All you'd have to do is not promote it in an advertisement-like way.

I went ahead and helped you out by removing the promotional link from your post.

Aw, I was being sarcastic. Linking in the project page didn't seem any different than doing the same for the kickstarter thread in Gaming.
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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby gmalivuk » Fri May 24, 2013 12:32 am UTC

Yeah, but it was accompanied by a dismissive reply to someone making a legitimate request that this thread not become an advertisement.

Obviously a link to the page is entirely relevant to this discussion. Too bad you blew your chance to be the one to post it.
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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby sparkyb » Tue Jun 18, 2013 5:33 pm UTC

I am one of the people who backed this campaign. For sure there are reasons to be skeptical of the creator's claims. It does sound like snake oil the way he pitches it in that first blog post, but then again, that was before he decided to sell it. Perhaps the changes seemed so drastic because of how unhealthy he was eating before? It looks like a Forbes reporter decided to subsist on only Soylent for a week to independently verify their claims. You can read his conclusions at http://www.forbes.com/sites/calebmelby/2013/06/10/a-week-without-real-food-i-survived-and-learned-to-enjoy-soylent/. His conclusions were basically that he didn't see any of those extravagant health effects and it did not taste as good as advertised, but as a skeptic he was at least somewhat won over by Soylent as an easy replacement for quick meals that could provide a good sustained amount of energy. Read his account if you think I may be biased.

I'm not sure if this will be successful or not, which is why I only backed at the 1 week level to try it out, but I completely agree with their goals. I'm so excited that someone decided to do this. I've had a similar idea for a long time. Seriously, reading them make the case for Soylent makes me wonder if my office is bugged. This is something I've really wanted and never dreamed I'd actually see it exist. What really gets me down, though, is how close-minded and unsympathetic some people can be when I tell them about it. I can't think of any other instance when I've been this excited about something and people who I might otherwise consider friends where this insistent on shutting me down and trashing my dream. If eating healthy isn't a struggle for you, either because you're good at cooking/ordering healthy or just don't care, then I don't expect you to understand why I want this, but why do people insist on applying their own food experience to me without even giving me a chance to explain?

I do really like food and would never want to give up eating food completely, but I tend to have a pretty limited diet of not necessarily the most healthy things. I want to eat healthier, but I have some real issues with food that makes it very hard for me to change my diet and eating habits. I still want to eat the things I like when I crave them, but I want to do so in moderation. The rest of the time when I'm really just eating because I'm hungry and not because I desire any particular thing, my main goal is to eat something healthy that I don't have to agonize over. I think something like Soylent fits that bill perfectly (if it work). I thought something I read on the Soylent page said it best when they describe separating the utility of eating for fuel from food you eat for enjoyment. I've made basically the same argument myself, that by avoiding the food you really like when you're sort of ambivalent and just hungry, you will appreciate it more as a special thing you eat only when you really want to enjoy it. I'm not meaning this to be an ad, since these thought of mine predate the existence of Soylent, but I look forward to using Soylent as an experiment to see if it can live up to my theoretical ideas or whether there is some flaw in the idea itself.

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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby thoughtfully » Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:46 pm UTC

Wheer this could be a real win is spreading out food consumption over shorter intervals. There's a good amount of research indicating that three meals a day isn't necessarily optimal for good health, alertness, and productivity. A no-muss, no-fuss squirt of Soylent every three hours would fit into the work lives of most of us, depending on refridgeration requirements perhaps. I might try that out with Slim-fast or the like while waiting for Soylent.
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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby bouer » Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:59 am UTC

Something I love about this is they never commit the naturalistic fallacy. Soylent is fully synthetic, artificial, unnatural, and proud of it. I would like to try it but I'll wait until it is a real product. If I do buy it, I'd like to see what it tastes like heated up and/or with hot peppers in it, neither of which people seem to do.

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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby Jorpho » Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:06 am UTC

bouer wrote:Something I love about this is they never commit the naturalistic fallacy. Soylent is fully synthetic, artificial, unnatural, and proud of it.

Y'know, I would expect more whining about the lack of utility of nutrients when supplied independently of their naturally-occurring environments. If Soylent serves to put such arguments to rest, it may be worth supporting on those grounds.

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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:22 am UTC

It won't put those arguments to rest, because the people who make naturalistic arguments have never cared all that much about reality. They'll just continue to ignore it if that's more convenient for their worldview.
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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby thoughtfully » Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:27 am UTC

Well, the more derived something is, the more resource intensive it is. It's not entirely pathological nonreasoning. In theory.
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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby MarvinM » Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:08 pm UTC

Also the more derived something is the more the product depends on the motives, skill and knowledge of the deriver.

Most of the mistakes I've spotted have been pointed out in the long comment sections, some he's acted on, some he's acknowledged and some he's just ignoring. 3 people have pointed out that "an oligosaccharide like Maltodextrin provides a nice steady flow of energy" is wrong and neatly this is due to it not being a natural oligosaccharide, it's a derived product, it doesn't fit the pattern.

I think my main issue is, I don't get it. It's not new and I don't see why anyone would want to do this.

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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby sparkyb » Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:59 am UTC

MarvinM wrote:I think my main issue is, I don't get it. It's not new and I don't see why anyone would want to do this.


What about the reasons I mentioned about why I want to do this don't you get? Maybe I can clarify it for you. And what is new, is that it is the first such product that I've ever heard of that is marked for those purposes. There are things people have mentioned that are similar, but none that are designed to be voluntary meal replacements. There are supplements and diet drinks, but those aren't meant to be all-encompassing. There are drinks for people who can't eat for medical reasons or hungerstriking prisoners, but those aren't designed as consumer products that someone would voluntarily use long-term.

Aside: Is it just me that thinks this thread belongs in the Food forum, not Science?

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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby MarvinM » Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:58 am UTC

sparkyb wrote:...first such product that I've ever heard of that is marked for those purposes. There are things people have mentioned that are similar, but none that are designed to be voluntary meal replacements...


That's it I think. It isn't the skill or research or testing, but with internet buzz you too can be surrounded by hundreds of people that know less than you do, as if trusting an engineer dabbling in dietetics is ever a good idea. There are dozens of meal replacement products with nutritional balancing far more advanced, some are designed to be put directly into a patients blood stream. They tend to be expensive. Pretty much everything he has in the original formulation can be bought from one health food shop catering to the body builder market for the specific purpose of blending into a shake.

A healthy human is quite robust, and this may not be a lot worse than most other forms of food, but is it better? I notice that instead of fixing problems with (for example) essential fatty acids he's moved onto self medicating with nootropics. Maybe that's another brilliant move, but if it was cocaine I'm sure a lot of metrics would improve in the short term and it wouldn't mean the mixture was healthier.

bouer wrote:Soylent is fully synthetic, artificial, unnatural, and proud of it.

The way it's being presented, you could think that, and it sounds less impressive as a vegetable oil, grain flour and milk product. Personally I'd prefer those ingredients as a pancake.
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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby bouer » Thu Jun 27, 2013 6:08 pm UTC

Has anyone considered cooking with it? It looks to me like adding less water and frying it then topping it with maple syrup might be good.

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Re: Soylent (not the people variety)

Postby sparkyb » Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:04 pm UTC

bouer wrote:Has anyone considered cooking with it? It looks to me like adding less water and frying it then topping it with maple syrup might be good.


Is that based on the description of a pancake batter-y taste/consistency? I'm not sure if that would imply that it could actually be made into pancakes.


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